Basics of airline travel with a baby

OK, you cannot travel with a peacock yet, but babies are still allowed on board and there a few tips and hacks to improve everyone’s experience,  especially yours.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) enlists all of their basics around screening for babies and baby-related items here.

Molly and I started small for Miles’ first trip- he was almost three months- taking a late afternoon (6 pm CST) flight to San Fran. It was a good first-step for us because Miles napped for most of the way-it is roughly a three-hour flight- but was awake during take-off and touchdown so we could feed him and help with the ear popping due to cabin pressurization.

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Miles excited to visit SMFOA and The Rock!

This is also a good blog with 10 tips for lap babies- remember in most cases children under two years old travel for free if they are sitting on your lap.

International travel represents a whole different animal, starting with the ticketing and the length. The Points Guy has listed some of the basics regarding airfare.

Get your little one a passport- some post offices still offer that service- and make sure you dress up really well because you will be in the picture!

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That’s me under the sheet- so dress properly!

During our travel to Norway and Germany September 2017, we learned that there are some airplanes that offer an infant bassinet-also called cot- installed on the bulkhead in flight. In our case we flew the beautiful Air France’s Airbus A-340 (ORD-CDG) and Delta’s A-330 (AMS-MSP), and they both  had this amenity.

For more on bassinets and what airlines offer them, visit this blogIt’s important to note there are differences even among the bassinets offered on planes, and the A-340 had a 10kg / 22lbs limit, and we fibbed that Miles was just a tick under that when he had actually weighed a pound over two days before during his routine checkup- guilty as charge your honor, but I don’t want to weight-shame my baby this early in his life!

Despite my assumption that most people would show immediate dismay when realizing  there is a baby in the same plane, we were pleasantly surprised that most everyone was very welcoming of our family. Most flight attendants we have met have been very helpful and attentive when traveling with Miles, anything from proactively making sure you have everything you need to even offering to babysit Miles so Molly and I could catch some shut-eye- I am not making this stuff up! Hope you have Tucker in your next Delta flight!

Jacob, my brother-in-law, has this little hack of bringing $5-10 gift cards to reward flight attendants if they took care of him during his trip, and this will provide very beneficial when you end up in the middle of an eight-hour flight and a kid that absolutely needs to stretch his legs!  In my case, I had to tag behind Miles while he completed four (crawling) laps around the entire economy section of the A-330!

As far as what items to pack, we learned the hard way that it’s definitely easier if you bring the lightest stroller and car seat available- you want to avoid having to Uber your way around the sometimes tiny and busy streets of San Fran looking like you moonlight as an F-1 race pit stop crew with your otherwise all terrain jogging stroller-we use the Bob–  so we mostly have traveled with Mountain Buggy’s Nano  (folds to the size of a briefcase) and the Per Pereggo Viaggio 4-35 car seat- admittedly there are lighter-and cheaper-car seats, but I absolutely love everything about this one, including how straightforward it is to use the seat belt to fasten it.

And if you travel to Europe, you will notice that strollers, just like cars, look different than what you see in the US- Europeans definitely have a flair for great designs!

The 7AM Enfant Le Sac Igloo is a great foot muff if you are traveling somewhere cold or, like in our case, you live in a place where 6-months of winter is the norm.img_4528

Don’t forget the ever-handy Boba and, you know, load up on as many snacks as possible, there never seem to be enough, for your baby or yourself- you would be surprise how good some are nowadays.

A good rule of thumb is to always behave in a way that shows people you understand the pain of airline travel with a misbehaving and loud kid, especially when flying United.

Now, get on your device and start booking travel with your baby.

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3 Comments

  1. Flor Orozco

    JM, I am surprised about your trip experiences and you have described each step and recommendation with high content and helpful advices for parents traveling with babies!

    You have expertise in merchandizing and marketing stuff. Miles is an excellent and beautiful baby for TV advertising. Congratulations!

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